West DAC convenes preparatory meeting for counting

Gyalshing, 17 May [IPR]: A preparatory meeting to discuss arrangements for the counting of votes [scheduled for 23 May] with the candidates and political representatives was conducted here at the Conference Hall, Zilla Bhawan, today. The meeting was chaired by DC-cum-DEO West, Karma R. Bonpo along with SP West, Tenzing Loden Lepcha; ADC West, Karma Lodey Lepcha; SDM (HQ), Tushar G. Nikhare; SDM (Gyalshing) Gilbert Lepcha and SDM Dentam, Bimal Rai. The District Collector congratulated all the candidates and political parties of West Sikkim for keeping the election process peaceful and non-violent. He also urged them to do the same during the final phases of the elections. The DC briefed them extensively on the arrangements at the counting halls where a total of 4 Halls have been designated for the counting. He stated that since various checks have been made for the counting of the results, the counting process will be swift and error free. He also mentioned that each hall would have an Assistant Returning Officer and an Observer. Each counting room will have 10 counting tables manned by a Counting Supervisor, one Counting Assistant, one Micro Observer and one support staff. He also mentioned that necessary security measures have been put in place and that secrecy of votes in case of postal ballots will be maintained at all costs. He further advised that a team of counting agents from each party be selected and sent by the candidates. He added that no one will be allowed to enter the premises without a valid Identity card issued by the Returning Officer. The DC informed that the strong-room will be opened on 23 May at 7 AM. Also a dry run (Mock Counting) will be conducted in the Kyongsa Girls Senior Secondary School auditorium hall on 20 May at 9:30 AM. The SP West spoke on security arrangements for the counting day and how the premises has been placed under 3-tier security manned by SSB forces in the inner quadrant, IRB personnel in the second quadrant and Sikkim Police in the outer quadrant of the Kyongsa Strong Room. He urged the political representatives to maintain discipline and quorum during the counting period and asked them to avoid the use of liquor and also cooperate with the police if and when necessary. He also asked the political representatives to be stationed at their respective designated places. The SDM (HQ) demonstrated the EVM and VVPAT Machines to the candidates.